Wales must divest from fossil fuels

| 15th August 2019
Sophie Howe
Flickr
Public sector must stop funding climate change say Welsh organisations.

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A coalition of organisations that collectively represent tens of thousands of people want Wales to be a globally responsible nation in line with our seven well-being of goals. 

Friends of the Earth Cymru, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, UNISON Cymru, NUS UK, CAFOD Wales, Oxfam Cymru, University and College Union Cymru, Sustrans Cymru and British Lung Foundation Wales have come together in an open letter to urge Local Authority Pension Funds, the new Wales Pension Partnership, the Assembly Member Pension Scheme and the Welsh Government pension fund to commit to truly ethical investment policies.

The open letter explains: "It is the poorest people, both here in Wales and globally, that are least responsible and yet most affected by climate change. We must divest from fossil fuels now to help support more vulnerable countries where people are already experiencing the front line impacts of climate change."

Unethical funds

Friends of the Earth Cymru spokesperson Bleddyn Lake said: “If you invest money in a business you are supporting them. The record temperatures across Europe over the last week are just the latest reminder that climate change is happening here and now.

"The public sector in Wales must stop funding the companies responsible for the climate crisis.  

“Divestment – that is taking money away from unethical funds – is a powerful way of showing the fossil fuel industry that we’re taking the climate emergency seriously. After all, we can’t fight climate breakdown while funding the very companies driving it. 

“In Wales so far, Monmouthshire and Cardiff councils have passed votes to divest their pensions from these companies. Other councils such as Swansea are also taking encouraging steps but others are very resistant and have voted down similar divestment motions. We need to see greater urgency of action. 

“We urge all public sector bodies in Wales to join those companies, councils and organisations around the world who have already divested. If we don’t act now, then when?” 

Art of the Possible 

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales said: “In the past month we have seen the pace of progress to tackling climate change gather speed here in Wales; from Welsh council’s voting to divest from fossil fuels to local people taking direct action to highlight the serious threat to our health and planet as we experience some of the hottest days of the year so far across Europe. 

“Decision-makers in Wales need to be taking immediate action and one strategic commitment they can make to contributing to a globally responsible Wales is by making the right financial decision for the well-being of our future generations. 

"This is one of the recommendations highlighted within my Art of the Possible programme which provides practical information for public bodies to take bolder steps on their journey to realising the aims and ambition of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.” 

This Author 

Marianne Brooker is The Ecologist's content editor. This article is based on a press release from Friends of the Earth Cymru. 

Image: Sophie Howe. UN Division for SDG, Flickr

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